“Weed to the Wise:” Declaring Our Independence From Opioids!

Welcome to the July edition of the curated PLAYBOOK “Declaring our Independence from Opioids!” with continued emerging medical cannabis research for seniors! Because there is so much current focus on the use of cannabis to moderate or influence the rampant opioid addiction problem, we are focusing on what we currently know about the potential positive impact of medical marijuana on opioid addiction. Strikingly, the leading cause of death for people under age 50 in the U.S. is an opioid overdose. While the U.S. has only 5% of the world’s population, it consumes 80% of the opioid supply! So we ask ourselves, “what is the actual impact of providing individuals with the option between medical cannabis or opioids for pain management?” The bottom line is that cannabis is an aid, not a solution. This month’s playbook will also report back from the Cannabis Business Conference in Santiago, Chile and is dedicated to my generous sponsors with affectionate gratitude.

**News: Jared Polis, Governor of Colorado, signed a bill last month that will allow physicians to offer the option of medical marijuana for pain management instead of opioids after August 2nd.



  1. Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research Journal (n=3000, June 2017): Patients who used cannabis and opioids to control their pain were surveyed. Ninety-seven percent (97%) reported that cannabis allowed them to decrease their opioid use, and 81% felt that cannabis alone was even more effective than cannabis combined with opioids.
  2. Dr. Dustin Sulak Survey of Patients (n=542, 2016): Opioid users who were treated with cannabis were surveyed. Thirty-nine percent (39%) were able to stop all opioids and 39% used cannabis to lower the opioid dose. Cannabis use also reduced 47% of users’ pain by >40% and 87% of users reported an improved quality of life.
  3. Switzerland dementia study (n=10)(This study was also cited in last month’s newsletter on Alzheimer’s): Ten female demented patients with severe behavior problems received oral cannabis medication with 1:2 THC:CBD (7.6 mg THC/13.2 mg CBD daily after 2 weeks, 8.8 mg THC/17.6 mg CBD after 1 month, and 9.0 mg THC/18.0 mg CBD after 2 months.) The THC/CBD-based oil was preferred. After 2 months, the rigidity score decreased by 50%. Half of the patients decreased or stopped other psychotropic medications and there was a decrease in constipation with fewer opioids. There was no withholding of the medication due to side effects, and the effects persisted after 2 months.
  4. Palm Beach Nursing Home To Offer Cannabinoid-based Therapies: MorseLife Health System is nationally recognized for being on the leading edge of care for older adults. Under a pilot program authorized by the State of Florida, they will be the only senior living provider in the state to offer cannabinoid-based therapies for its clients in a variety of care settings as an alternative to pharmaceuticals. MorseLife serves more than 3,600 seniors every day on its campus in West Palm Beach and through its community outreach programs.
  5. Legal weed evidently doesn’t impact alcohol sales and may or may not alleviate opioid deaths. The original research in 2014 determined that using medical marijuana reduced the mortality rate from opioids but it seems that the jury is still out.
  6. If you are interested in a specific medically recommended protocol for reducing or replacing opioid medications, please visit Dr. Dustin Sulak’s site.

UPDATE FROM SANTIAGO, CHILE: Cannabis Business Conference–Latin America


  1. For personal blog posts, photos, and copy of the presentation go to https://grass4geezers.com/category/news/
  2. What did I learn? Staying informed on and in compliance with the regulations and legal requirements of hemp, CBD, and medical and recreational marijuana (each unique, btw) in Latin America is a HUGE challenge that covers harvesting, cultivation, processing, lab data, quality control, batch control, distribution, etc. These variables vary country to country in Central and South America and are constantly changing (sort of like it is state-to-state in the U.S. only more complex). Block chain technology was mentioned as a tool, but I’m not sure how well it was understood.
  3. It was an inclusive group: Big Agriculture, Big Pharma, small start-ups; international perspectives (Canada, U.S., Central and South America, Israel, Mexico.); and gender and age diversity.
  4. Memorable notes: When plants are dying, look to leadership and management issues. When you are looking for a first grower, go for someone with experience with big grows of flowers and teach them cannabis. The big question is really are you in this for healing and people or for money?  Are indigenous voices and concerns being heard?
  5. A surprise for me was how large a presence Colorado had and interestingly how many Peruvian players are here on the east slope and not seemingly networked together.
  6. I felt safer on the city streets of Santiago by myself than I feel on the streets of downtown (Union Station area) Denver!
  7. The Chilenos are as hospitable, friendly, inclusive, and gentle as I remember. ‘Culto’ and very family oriented, even in business.



  1. You need to experiment using microdoses of different strains
  2. Choose a strain the dispensary recommends
  3. Choose another strain that smells appealing (always go by smell)
  4. Start with 1 mg THC : 1 mg CBD (mini microdose, a standard gummy is 10 mg in Colorado.)
  5. Every day increase the dose by 1 mg (most people get the best result between 2-15 mg a day)
  6. Use the dose that improves pain and anxiety and has no side effects
  7. People usually can reduce opioids by 50-80% within the first two weeks.  (For a recommended protocol by a physician, please visit Dr. Dustin Sulak’s site.)

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